Monday, February 27, 2017

A pretty bird painting that we pass by practically every day.
I finally took a picture by it.
Hello po! 

I can't believe that I will see you all in FOUR DAYS!  I am so excited to see you all.  I can't wait to experience coming down the escalator and seeing all of you there, waiting for me.  Ah!  It makes me excited!  

Although I am coming home, a part of me feels like I am leaving home.  The Philippines has become a part of me, and in leaving, I feel like I am leaving a piece of myself behind.  I love the people here.  I love the culture.  I love the adventure and I love the farms and fields.  I love speaking Tagalog and I love Filipino food.  Even though I am leaving the Philippines, it will never really go away.  I know that the Philippines has become a part of me and that it will forever stay.  The Philippines has my heart.  

Last night, I could sleep thinking about all the things I had to do (like pack....which I haven't done yet...AHH!).  It still hasn't really hit me yet that I'm leaving.  I know it's coming, but I don't think I fully comprehend it yet.  

This week was an amazing week.  It was so spiritually filling.  The Philippines Cauayan Mission had the special opportunity to be visited by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with his wife, Sister Bednar, and the PH area president and his wife, Elder and Sister Bowen.  On Friday, we spent three wonderful hours learning and listening to the words of Elder Bednar and those with him.  It was such an inspired meeting.  It was also nothing like I expected it to be.  Elder Bednar involved us so much in his messages by asking us questions, letting us ask him questions, and discussing ideas together.  I learned so much.  One thing that stood out to me was this:  EMBRACE CHANGE.  It was a timely message for me, seeing that I am about to make a big change in my life from full time missionary to returned missionary.  Most people don't like to change because it scares them.  But Heavenly Father's plan is the plan of eternal progression, and if we want to progress, we need to change.  When we change to make our lives in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ, change is always good and always bring blessings.  I made a goal this week to EMBRACE CHANGE.  

Today is my last day of working and teaching as a full-time missionary.  Tomorrow (Tuesday), I head to the mission home for departure activities with President and Sister Hiatt, and on Wednesday morning I'll fly to Manila and spend the day there.  Finally, on Thursday morning I'll make the loooooooong journey home to you.

I love you all.  I can't wait to see you all.


xo Sister Allen

Our zone conference.  I'm standing on the leftish side.

Photo with the WHOLE MISSION (178 missionaries!) and Elder and Sister Bednar and the area president Elder and Sister Bowen.  I'm on the far right on the third row. 

Elder and Sister Jones are a senior couple in the PCM.  I ADORE THEM.  I want to be them when I am old.  They head home a week after me.  I was lucky to serve with them for my entire mission.  The are amazing!  Elder Jones is an alpaca vet!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

At the career workshop.  Finishing strong!

Hello po!

I am so excited to see you all soon!  It still doesn't feel real to me that I am going home in just a few days.  I don't know when it will hit me.... maybe when I'm on the plane?  Or maybe when I finish packing?  I'm not sure when my brain and heart will finally accept the fact that I am leaving the Philippines.  Time has flown so fast! I was planning on dieting before I came home, but I would rather enjoy the food while I'm here, so I'm doing that instead.  Hehe. 

I have had a good week.  I am so happy being a missionary.  I love serving, teaching, studying the gospel, and everything else about missionary work.  This week we had a good week of work.  

On Tuesday we had our district meeting.  It was good.  It was also Valentine's day on Tuesday!  I gave my companion some candy and a card, and she did the same for me.  It was fun.  

On Wednesday I had my last companion exchanges with the sisters.  It was fun!  My companion was Sister Mafi.  She's from Tonga.  She's super tall and fun and I loved working with her.  

On Thursday I had my career workshop.  Career workshop is for all the missionaries who are headed home.  It's kind of like an "how to be an adult" class.  It was fun.  We learned about job interviews, things to do when we get home, and being successful.  I learned a lot.  It kind of made me stressed out to think for one whole day about my future, but it's okay.  I am excited to apply the things I have learned.  I know that being a missionary has shaped me into someone who will be a good student and a good member of the church.  I am excited to use all the things that I have learned in real life. 

On Friday and Saturday we just had work work work work and lessons lessons lessons.  It was good! 

Sunday was my 18 month mark.  I've been out here for so long!  My companion and housemates surprised me with a cake.  It was cute!  The ward also threw a "Goodbye Sister Allen" party.  We had some investigators come to church for the first time, which was great! That's a great feeling. I was so happy that they came.




xo Sister Allen

HAHAHA I have no idea what I'm doing in this picture....hahaha!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hello po! 

I am doing well!  I am happy and hard working.  I am trying to give everything I've got to the last stretch of my mission.  My wounds are all healed up.... all that's left are scars.  Hopefully those will go away in the coming months.  I still get a little scared sometimes when a motorcycle or tricycle drives past us in the night, but I wear my bag differently so that they couldn't get to it.  I don't feel as nervous or scared as I did before.  I am mentally healing from the experience as well.  

This past week went by so fast!  We had a full week of lessons and exchanges with the sisters.  I'm not sure how many lessons we taught...I think about 35 or 40.  We don't report the number of lessons we teach anymore, so I don't know exactly how many lessons we taught.  Our area and ward are doing great!  I love it here in Santiago.  The members are all so supportive and loving.  Our ward had it's annual temple trip to the Manila temple and three families from our ward were sealed.  I am so happy for them!  

We had many wonderful lessons this week.  One of our investigators, Ghail, is so amazing.  Ghail makes a living by doing graphic design for greeting cards and things like that.  She has a cute little four year old daughter, Althea.  We have taught her several times and the Spirit is always so strong in each lesson.  Our last lesson, we taught about the Book of Mormon.  Sister Ghail told us that her heart feels like it is searching for something.  She also told us that she feels light and happy when we come to her house but that when we leave, that feeling slowly slips away.  Ghail is so prepared for the gospel and we can see that she has a pure heart.  I am excited to see where things go with her this week.  Our goal for her this week is church attendance.  She hasn't been able to come yet!  We are hoping and praying that she will come.  She is so amazing and she deserves the gospel in her life. 

I love being a missionary.  I can't believe how fast time flies.  I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week.

xo Sister Allen

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hello po! 

I am doing good.  I am healthy and happy and strong.  I can't believe how fast my wounds have healed!  All that's left are scars.  Missionary has become such a part of me.  It feels natural to work and preach the gospel.  

This week was a good week.  So many wonderful things happened.  This past week, we attended a missionary broadcast.  The broadcast was from the missionary department of the church.  There were changes in the missionary schedule and reporting that were announced.  It was exciting!  I don't think it would really interest anyone but missionaries....  It's all too hard to explain haha.  Basically, they are focusing the work on only the most important things and they are giving us more time to work during the day and more time to rest and prepare in the morning and evening.  It's all good changes.  I know that these changes from the Brethren are exactly what God wants for His missionaries.  The work is moving forward! 

My companion and I also attended MLC this week.  It was wonderful.  President and Sister Hiatt are amazing.  We talked about the changes from the missionary broadcast and talked about how missionaries can more effectively teach repentance to all.  The following day, I had my cycle-ly interview with President and Sister Hiatt.  They both commented on my English.... President Hiatt said that I sound like a Filipina when I speak English.  Sister Hiatt told me that I need to work on my English.  HAHA.  I guess that's a mark of a foreign missionary.  

We had a great "half day mission" with the members this past Sunday.  Us and the members split up into groups and went out to find less actives.  We found a TON.  Sister Delinila and I are excited to go back and visit them with members.  We are having meeting regularly and we just got a new ward mission leader who is a returned missionary.  The ward and it's members are getting stronger and are getting more involved in missionary work. 

This week we also attended a funeral for a young couple whose baby died at two months old.  The baby was born premature and as a result had all sorts of health issues.  The couple was sad, of course, but they seemed so calm and peaceful despite the sorrowful experience.  That peace came from the plan of salvation.  They each gave their testimonies in sacrament meeting on Sunday and each shared how grateful they are for the plan, how blessed they were to care for their little son for a few months, and how hopeful they are that they will see him again someday.  It was heartbreaking, but filled with hope.  The plan of salvation is so real, and I am so grateful for it.  Because of the plan and because of the Atonement, all that is unfair in life will be made right.  Life isn't always fair, but through the Atonement, everything will be.  Broken hearts will heal.  Scars will fade.  Hope and light and life will always prevail.


xo Sister Allen

(another darling letter from Sister Delinila to the family)

hello mother sister allen and the rest of the family,

sister allen is healing really fast. even the members seemed surprised. i can see she is doing better emotionally too. she is strong and i thought to myself how amazing she is. she keeps saying how excited she is to be with you especially with Sage. i'll miss her when she leaves. we've gotten really close with each other. 

yesterday, the members planned out a farewell party for her and i can see how much they love her and appreciate her. i know its all because of how loving and thoughtful sister allen is. she radiates happiness and the members are just drawn to her. 

it is funny because when we were working out the police reports and stuff, sister allen told me that i remind her of her mom. i think it was because i was drilling on the staff guy who simply told us there was no way to find the guy who did that to her. thankfully, sister allen was there to calm me down.

im sure you would love to know more stories about sister allen. i thought you might want to know this incident from last week. this is part of the letter i sent to my family today:

On tuesday, we taught a less active family we were working on. their kids were screaming like crazy and running around the room. we had to pause midway through the lesson while waiting for the father to calm them down. while waiting, i whispered to sister allen that i will miss her once she goes home. she looked at me funny then frowned and blurted out "Don't say that! you're going to make me cry." then her eyes started to tear up. hah! i don't want her to cry but she's so cuuuuttteee...

take care!
Sister Delinila

A family home evening this past week.